I wasn’t always this way. Two years ago I didn’t have a clue as to how to turn on a computer. Didn’t even know what Safari or Internet Explorer was. I’d see my kids feverishly typing replies on Facebook and my husband sharing YouTube videos with his friends…and I just didn’t get what all the fuss was about. Most evenings after dinner everyone in the family had their noses buried in their computers. Except me. I preferred to spend my nights curled up with a good, old-fashioned, paperback novel.
My husband decided to ease me into the world of technology slowly. First came the hot pink iPod he bought me for my birthday. After dozens of failed attempts to find and store my favorite songs (I’m so technologically challenged, I couldn’t figure out how to scroll through play lists or adjust the volume), I threw the expensive gadget at my husband and told him to take the stupid thing back to the store for a refund.
A glutton for punishment, the poor man tried once again by giving me a Kindle the following Christmas (this time he inched away slowly as I unwrapped the present). I plastered a smile on my face, thanked him for the lovely gift, and promptly deposited it in my underwear drawer because I had no intention of ever using it. I liked my paperback novels and no fancy gadget was going to replace them.
A year later, my kids found the Kindle, dusted it off and shoved it into my hands. It was time for me to step out of the disco era and learn some technology.
It took awhile, but I finally got the hang of it and actually looked forward to reading my favorite novels on the Kindle at bedtime.
The true test came last summer when my husband dragged me to a computer class for beginners. My first day there, it was a bit disheartening to see that I was the only person present without hair the color of a Q-tip. As much as I wanted to bolt from the room, I forged on and slowly began to grasp the exhilarating freedom of internet exploration. I had stepped into a brand new world, and there was no way I was going to crawl back into the dark cave I had come from, where finger-painting buffalo on stone walls with berry juice was the norm. I felt as if I’d been invited into a secret society of Facebook users, email fanatics and YouTube addicts. Google became my favorite word of the day, and I wanted everyone to know that I was finally hip to using a computer.
And then I heard about blogging. I was fascinated by the concept of sharing my opinions and personal experiences on the internet, to bare my soul to millions of people around the world…. and leaving myself open to their colorful remarks on my posts.
Oh, I was hooked. I began reading hundreds of blogs, contacting authors and eventually setting up my own blog site. Pretty soon I was eating all of my meals by the computer and avoiding telephone calls. The bills were paid late and dirty dishes filled the sink. Laundry seemed like an archaic concept, so I just let it pile up like Mount Rushmore. Home cooked dinners became store-bought meals heated in the microwave as my cooking skills took a back seat to my computer skills. Even chocolate could not distract me from my computer, which would explain how I dropped a few pounds. The scale was smiling at me for the first time in years. Who knew blogging was more effective than diet pills for weight loss?
What once amused my family now annoyed the heck out of them. They were sick of eating frozen pizza every night and walking around in wrinkled clothes that smelled like a ferret’s cage. They would stand beside my desk and wait for me to acknowledge them, but my brain had turned into blogger zombie mush, and all I could do was stare blankly at the computer screen
“Who are you people?”
“We’re your children!”
” I have kids? When did that happen?”
“Honey, there’s a herd of elephants stampeding down the street and they’re headed for our house!”
“Okay…just sprinkle mozzarella cheese on them and bake them at 400 degrees.”
It was no use. They tried plying me away from the computer with wine, chocolate truffles, a Disney vacation, a puppy…I was lost in a zombie land daze, where every blogger survives on large doses of caffeine and a list of followers longer than the phone book.
And then the unthinkable happened. Out internet went down during a storm, and I was without my beloved computer for the entire weekend. At first, panic set in. Then anger and blame…sort of like Kubler-Ross’ five stages of grief. I wandered aimlessly through the house and checked the cable connection every five minutes to see if the power had been restored. Concerned by the glazed look in my eyes, my family started searching for a Bloggers Anonymous support group.
I was forced to brush the cobwebs off the stove and actually use the appliance to cook a healthy meal for my family. Next, I tackled the overflowing basket of laundry. Some of those pants were so dirty they could have sprouted legs and carried themselves out the door.
After wiping the film from my eyes, I saw my family clearly for the first time in months.
“Oh yeah, now I recognize you…you’re the son I gave birth to sixteen years ago…and there’s the daughter I celebrated a twenty-first birthday with…and hey, isn’t that handsome man over there on the couch with a beer in one hand and the television remote control in the other my husband?”
Welcome back to the land of the living!
The internet was finally restored and my computer hummed back to life. I circled it a few times, caressed its shiny top and dreamed of all the new blog posts I’d like to write. I knew there were hundreds of emails just waiting to be opened, but I resisted the urge to touch the keys and focused on my family instead.
The obsession is still there; I’ve just learned to harness that energy into more productive things…like organizing my spice rack or cleaning out the dryer lint trap.
The zombies are still calling to me, and some nights when the house is quiet and the caffeine is singing through my veins, I can’t resist opening my laptop and blogging with the rest of the insomniacs of the world…as long as my husband isn’t waiting outside the window with the garden shears, ready to snip the cable line.